Friday, January 31, 2014
I came across a video a few weeks ago, posted by my local radio station. Some of you know I'm a HUGE Keith Urban fan. I love his passion for music. I love the way he gets on that stage and jams with his guitar, putting his all into what he does. And he's damn good at it! I've been to about six Keith Urban shows, and I never leave disappointed. He's had a dream of music from a young age.
Anyway, this video I found is from 1983, Keith is just sixteen in the video. There's some talent show he auditioned for and watching this video not only made me smile because hellooooo, it's Keith! But it made me realize that even the people we may idolize, worship, treasure, adore...you get my drift- well, even they have to learn their craft!
Keith had a sweet voice even then. But look back at the way he executes his singing, well, it's different than he is now. The judges were pretty critical on him. For some, that might be enough to give up. Well, I'd say Keith didn't give up, did he?
It's not saying they didn't like his singing, but they pointed out what worked and what didn't. To me, I thought he was going to cry at one point. Check out the video for yourselves:
Where am I going with all this? Well, we all know the writing process and learning the craft at times can seem overwhelming. We write our story, and are so ready to let it out in the wild until we get to that stage of feedback. Then it's like Oh my god, I thought this was sooooo good, but it needs so much work!!
There's nothing wrong with that! So, learn the craft. Learn it some more. And even more. Don't get your first, second or third critique back with all those red markings and give up. If this is something you're passionate about, keep plugging along. You might read your favorite authors and wonder if they've ever gone through the same thing? I bet they have. Why? Because we all start somewhere. And even if another author's draft is cleaner than your first one and you read it for critiques and wonder how come you're writing isn't where theirs is? Don't do that. It just means they are at a different place. Want to see another young star's video from when he was young? Another man who's insanely passionate about what he does- 22 year old Hunter Hayes. He was playing the accordian at just 4 years old- with Hank Williams Jr!
Here's a video of Hunter at five years old playing on Prime Time Country:
That kid was meant for the stage- even then!
Keith and Hunter are doing well for themselves even now. Hunter might have had that stage presence nailed at five, and Keith's seemed a little more awkward....but they are both talented musicians with a love for what they do.
They were persistent. They both went after their dreams. And they have fans that adore them!
So, keep going. Don't give up! If you aren't where you want to be, get there. I'm constantly learning more every day.
And for your viewing pleasure, Keith and Hunter on stage together- doing what they love. Performing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hq6eX5rtys
Thanks for having me here today! Come hang out with me on my Facebook page sometime! It's usually fun :)
Nikki Lynn Barrett lives in Arizona with her husband and son. She's an avid reader, a dreamer, and loves everything about books. She runs a book blog, an online used bookstore, and writes various genres of romance. Nikki can also be found outside with her camera when a storm is near, snapping photo after photo. Her dreams of becoming a writer started when she was young, when she started writing books in one subject notebooks by the fifth grade.
Coming in March 2014, a contemporary suspense novel, the first in The Masterpiece Trilogy.
BLURB: A Masterpiece of Our Love
Two Lives Torn by tragedy.
Eight year old Becca and twelve year old Hunter cling to each other and life after surviving a plane crash which stole their families.
Two Souls Seeking Love.
Each year from the time she was old enough to travel on her own, Becca met up with Hunter on the island that altered their lives forever.
Until he stopped showing.
Her constant. Her link to the past. Gone in the blink of an eye.
Two Lives Bound by Secret.
Suffering more heartbreak, Hunter returns to the one place he's always sought comfort.
The island where he and Becca met. The place that stole from him, and in the same instance gave to him. He hasn't been back or spoken to Becca in four years.
Though he's sure she must hate him for disappearing, Hunter discovers the girl gone, now a woman in her place. Hunter is determined to prove to Becca he isn’t the same twelve year old boy of yesteryear.
But someone isn't happy about their reunion...
Strange things begin happening, letters showing up in their hotel rooms and at home with cryptic messages.
Two Broken Hearts Heal as One.
With the mystery unsolved, Hunter convinces Becca to spend the remainder of the summer back home with him. For safety and to give them a chance to rediscover the adults they've now become.
Will love get a chance to blossom or will the past come back and tear the masterpiece of their love apart, once and for all?
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Are you going to any conferences this year?
Because of my husband's condition, conferences are out of the question for the first half of the year. I will be at RWA in July, however. This will be my first time attending. Hope to see you there!
A lifetime New Englander, Suzanne married her college sweetheart and has been with him for over twenty years. Every summer she drags her husband and two daughters to Maine on a quest for the perfect lobster dinner. Every fall she can be found down in Foxboro, Massachusetts cheering on her favorite football team. In between those trips, she’s a chauffeur, a maid, a chef, an event planner, a hairdresser, a wardrobe stylist, a tutor and a sometimes masseuse. To keep her sanity, she often drinks copious amounts of coffee and stares at the blank screen of her laptop, dreaming of great adventures. Sometimes she even writes them down for others to enjoy.
(14 BRAND NEW limited edition contemporary romance bundled books)
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Note: Helmet required: intended for readers 18+
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Note: My addition is Conquista, the second book in the Junlge Heat series:
Rev up the heat and take a ride on the wild side with Rio's newest off-road motorcyclist in "Conquista" by Suzanne Rock.
Like us on Goodreads for up-to-the-minute information.
You can find Suzanne in these places:
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
God, I was delusional. LOL
It's true, most newbies think they are the cat's meow, the next big thing. I tried to hold my realities in check by working on several other manuscripts. I continued submitting and got lots of rejections.
In the contests, however, I discovered I wasn't doing badly at all. And I noticed a woman in my local RWA chapter and I seemed to be scoring approximately the same scores. I wondered if she would be interested in critiquing with me. So I put on my brave shirt and asked her. She said yes and would I want to look at her six very short stories.
Little did I know I would slip and slide down the rabbit hole into the pool of short fiction.
After critiquing my friend's stories, I began writing my own and submitting to magazines. Many acceptances later, I branched into other forms of short fiction.
Woman's World magazine has been around forever. Their stories take 800 words—PERIOD. The challenge is writing that short. It means really looking at action verbs, no adverbs, the perfect adjective, a descriptive noun. Getting the story pared to the bones and yet, still be an intriguing read.
I find short stories are a moment in time and are very satisfying, just as satisfying as a good book if written well.
Nowadays, authors are encouraged to write short fiction to publish between books so the reader stays interested. Short stories can be an extra freebie to entice new readers. It can expound on, say, a secondary character, a chance to hear their story. A giveaway in a contest. And just a plain ol' piece of short fiction because we all know we have a minute or two to read something during lunch or carpool—right?
People always ask when are you writing a book? He-he-he. I have and good news abounds.
Do you read short stories? If not, why not?
Like some of her characters, award-winning author, Vicki Batman has worked a wide variety of jobs including lifeguard, ride attendant at an amusement park; a hardware store, department store, book store, antique store clerk; administrative assistant in an international real estate firm; and a general “do anything gal” at a financial services firm--the list is endless.
Writing for several years, she has completed three manuscripts, written essays, and sold many short stories to TRUE LOVE, TRUE ROMANCE, TRUE CONFESSIONS, NOBLE ROMANCE PUBLISHING, LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS, MUSEITUP PUBLISHING, and THE WILD ROSE PRESS. She is a member of RWA and several writing groups and chapters. In 2004, she joined DARA and has served in many capacities, including 2009 President. DARA awarded her the Robin Teer Memorial Service Award in 2010.
Most days begin with her hands set to the keyboard and thinking "What if??"
BLURB: Bug Stuff...and other stories
Three short romantic comedies from sassy writer gal. Included are:
"Just Desserts": a political dinner gone disastrous brings together a reluctant attendee and her handsome seat-mate.
"Bug Stuff": A cute accountant unites with his co-worker to fight a pesky adversary.
"With This Ring": When a wife forgets her little black dress, all turns into something utterly romantic and unforgettable in the end.
Monday, January 27, 2014
Sunday, January 26, 2014
GIVEAWAY: One Romance Books '4' Us size XL tee-shirt will be given to one person who leaves a comment. NOTE: Only shipped to US and Canadian addresses.
- Your novel is being made into a TV series/movie. Who’s in your dream cast?
- What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?
- What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
- Of all your characters, who’s your favorite, and why?
- If you could change something about your first book, what would it be?
- How do you choose names for your characters?
- What genre would you like to try writing that you haven’t yet tried?
- Have you ever used an incident from your real life into one of your books?
- Any part of a book that drives you crazy as you write: beginning, middle, or end?
- Out of your entire backlist, which book has the best opening line? What's the line?
- What is your favorite holiday and why?
- What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
- As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Anything I wanted to be. I had all my options open.
- Favorite food…would be soft shell crab, hands down. I am a Chesapeake Bay gal and I could eat them until they run out of my ears.
- Favorite happy memory.
Now, How about a blurb and an excerpt from This Magic Moment, which will be part of the Unforgettable Heroes boxed set on January 30th. Here they are:
Zack Graham, CEO of Scrumbles
Snack Cakes and Crandall Drake, CEO of Pretzelcious Pretzels are workaholics. Mike Kramer and Gretta
Fishman, who work for each CEO respectively, are not. What’s worse, Mike and
Gretta are lovers who can’t spend time with each other due to their boss’ OCD
work habits. But they have a plan: ask Maxwell Magic, the magnanimous, magical,
mystery matchmaker, to solve their problem by getting their two bosses to stop
working and start loving in a match that lasts forever.
Zack and Crandall are in for a crazy ride, because Maxwell knows all and he will design a plan that is infallible; but, in the process they will have long-hidden secrets exposed and will be forced to sacrifice more than they thought possible to gain what they never though could come true.
But it can, because it’s magic-This Magic Moment!
And the excerpt: